With only a few weeks before the voting ends in the 2020 elections, Georgia’s 9th Congressional District candidate Andrew Clyde implored members of UGA’s College Republicans to get involved with local Athens races.
Likely feeling safe in his race against Democrat Devin Pandy in the heavily right-leaning district, Clyde asked the young Republicans over a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13, to volunteer on conservative campaigns in close elections, like the sheriff and state house races in Athens.
Despite President Donald Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in recent polls, Clyde said he feels optimistic that the president will receive a second term in office due to his “immense popularity,” referencing “boat armadas” in Georgia’s lakes, car parades and Trump flags flown on front lawns.
“There’s a tremendous enthusiasm I see in Georgia,” Clyde said. “I just don’t see that for the other side. I’ve never seen a Biden-Harris flag. When you have that enthusiasm at the top of the ticket, it will trickle down.”
As the owner of Clyde Armory on Atlanta Highway, Clyde puts the Second Amendment at the forefront of his campaign, with a gun emblazoned on many of his campaign signs. When asked by a student what he would consider a “good” or “bad” policy for gun reform, Clyde avoided directly answering the question, implying that any restriction on the Second Amendment could lead to the deterioration of other constitutional amendments, most notably the First Amendment.
“We all talk about the freedom of the press, religion and speech—and that is all wonderful—but if you don’t have a Second Amendment that can protect it from an overreaching, aggressive government, you won’t have the First Amendment,” Clyde said. “We’ve got to protect that Second Amendment beyond anything, really.”
After a 28-year career in the U.S. Navy, Clyde opened his gun shop after receiving a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and corporate finance at the University of Georgia. He said he decided to enter the congressional race after his battle with civil asset forfeiture.
In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service incorrectly confiscated about $940,000 from the gun shop, later returning about $900,000 to Clyde. This led the gun-shop owner to advocate for civil-asset-forfeiture reform in Washington, D.C. Clyde testified before Congress, which passed the RESPECT Act in 2019, tightening IRS rules on what could lead to forfeiture, and Trump signed the act.
“I decided to throw my hat in the ring,” Clyde said. “I like running my business, but I felt very strongly led that I could make a significant difference in Washington, D.C.”
Besides his promise to uphold the Second Amendment, Clyde is an opponent of abortion rights. He also supports “building the wall” at the U.S.-Mexico border in the hopes it will prevent the migration of undocumented immigrants into the country.
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